Technology in the Music Classroom


Lecture:  Introduction



What is technology??


Technology is a body of knowledge devoted to creating tools, processing actions and extracting of materials.  This is from an article that gives a great overview:

Please take a few minutes and read this article.  It will give you an excellent introduction.


Basically, humans encounter problems and find solutions. 




 Technology refers both to the products created by humans


and the methods used to create those products.




These may be tools, machines, appliances (and how they are made), but in its strictest sense, technology is the product of applied knowledge and creativity, or EVERYTHING THAT IS MADE BY HUMANS.


What about educational technology? 


Educational technology is used to improve the way we learn.


So, educational technology is the product of applied knowledge and creativity used to improve the way we learn.


Larry Cuban said educational technology is "Any device available to teachers for use in instructing students in a more efficient and stimulating manner than the sole use of the teacher's voice."

That would include chalkboards/chalk, textbooks, flashcards, and the mundane list goes on.





Well, we all know that this course is not about using tables, chairs, pencils, and chalkboards in a music classroom, so let's narrow down the definition just a bit. 


In other words, let's describe technology in working terms as it will be used in this course.


Words that accompany discussions of educational technology usually include "electronic" and "digital."  Your text uses "technology" to refer to

"computers and related digital tools that can be used to help humans develop an understanding of concepts and skills necessary to create, perform, and respond to music."


Technology related to music usually includes electronic instruments, recording equipment, sequencers, and software and hardware that apply to this type of equipment. 


It can also include applications to be run on computers, tablets, and phones; again, to enable making and enjoying music.





Why use technology

in the music classroom?



It expands instructional time


It enhances instruction; it is motivational and engaging; students love technology


It cuts out literacy requirement for creating music (ways to compose other than notation)


It allows students to work at their own pace and promotes individual learning


It encourages collaboration


It prepares students for use of technology outside the classroom


It makes the classroom relevant in our highly technological society


It encourages risk-taking and creativity (games, puzzles, music creation)


It assists students with disabilities and addresses diversity in learning styles


It bridges the gap between teacher and students; they connect more in both communication and collaboration


However, studies show that technology is not used to its full potential in music classrooms.



Why not?



Lack of hardware in the classroom (maybe only one computer)


Budget constraints for software/hardware/licenses


Lack of technical support for technological equipment


Teachers may be unaware of what technology is available


Lack of time to find or learn how to use available technology


Lack of emphasis on musical content that promotes use of technology (composition, for example)


Unwillingness to change teaching methods/modes


Habitual assumption that technology is mostly for administrative purposes



Technology is just a tool. 


It can be a tool to help us make music.  We should not use it just because it is there. 

An interesting article entitled  Music-based iPad app preferences of young children  describes an example.  Read the article.  If the app does not lead to the children behaving musically, is it an effective tool? 

We should not use a sampler to replace the instrumental sounds of our kids playing in the band.  Just because we can use digital accompaniment with singers does not mean we should. 


But by the same token, we should not disregard technology just because we didn't learn music that way.  It's a balancing act!

I still love Screen Beans.  Don't judge me.

Bottom line:  It must meet the need!  Solve the problem!


Music education is not about the technology - it's about the music. 

Teach music and the technology will follow.  - Barbara Freedman

So with this course, we will start with the primary objectives of music education and look for the tools that will be the most effective to meet those objectives.

We are not going to list all technology, devices, and the newest gadgets and then figure out how to use them in the music classroom. 

We are going to begin with what we want the students to know and be able to do and then select the technology that will help them get there.

Each one of you has a different set of resources, experiences, expectations, student needs in your teaching situation.

You will learn the most in this course from each other as you share your knowledge, your expertise, and what you learn in preparing course assignments.

Teachers Teaching Teachers!



In 2014, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards released a new set of standards for the arts.

Read about them here:

Core Music Standards

You may remember that in 1994, the Music Educators National Conference spearheaded an attempt to synthesize music education into standards.

The result was 9 National Standards for Music Education:



1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.

4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.

5. Reading and notating music.

6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.

7. Evaluating music and music performances.

8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.



The new set of standards collapses these into 3 big ones and then connects them to individual meaning and social culture! 








This class will explore the role of digital technologies in creating, performing, and responding to music, and how music connects to both internal and external meaning.

Ultimately, the goal is to promote lifelong music learning and participation.

And TECHNOLOGY can help!


Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson